When Noah started building the ark that God told him to build, it was a daunting task. Noah persevered with extraordinary dedication to accomplish a purpose that was beyond the scope of credibility.
During that time, Noah would have likely dealt with ridicule from his neighbors. People may have come from miles around to watch and laugh at the man building the big boat. Considering that it may not have rained up until this point (Genesis 2:5-6), the idea of that water covering the whole earth would seem rather absurd—especially with the caveat that Noah and his family would be the only ones saved from it.
In spite the doubts resulting from the ridicule of his neighbors, Noah built a boat that was approximately 450-500 feet long, 75-85 feet wide, and 45-50 feet tall, with only his three sons to help him (Genesis 6:10; 7:13). It is therefore not surprising that this feat could have taken him 120 years (Genesis 6:3). During that period of 120 years, that is a long time to be focused on doing the same thing.
Noah must have suffered greatly at the hands (and mouths) of the people around him. Despite the difficulties, he knew that this work was what God called him to do.
The Apostle Paul echoes this idea in his letter to the Romans. Here are five words from Paul’s letter to the Romans that will help you develop the dedication to do what God has called you to do.
In Chapter 5, Paul says “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame” (Romans 5:3-5 ESV). Let’s explore five words in those verses.
In this passage, the Greek word kauchaomai is the source for the English word rejoice, and it can mean “to glory (whether with reason or without).”
Noah likely comforted himself with the knowledge that God had given him this assignment, even if no one else understood his reasons for building the ark.
The word thlipsis is the Greek word that that English Standard Version renders as suffering, which can also mean “affliction” or “distress.”
Having had to deal with all that he went through in building the ark and in weathering the criticism, Noah must have afflicted and distressed during the long building process.
The English word endurance is translated from the Greek word hupomone, which can mean “a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance.”
Having this patient, sustaining, persevering endurance would have sustained Noah during the many years it took him to build the ark.
The Greek word dokime is translated in this verse as character, but this word is better translated as “a proof, a specimen of tried worth.”
Noah’s character was no doubt proved through the experience he gained in the ongoing trials of building the ark.
This hope that Paul speaks of does not disappoint because the Greek word elpis that Paul uses is more accurately translated as “expectation of good.”
Noah had a confident expectation that his work had a good purpose and would have inspired him to complete it.
Having the dedication to your work depends on the hope that what you are doing will have a beneficial outcome. Using Paul’s statement in Romans 5:3-5 as a lens for your situation at work,
- having the expectation of hope to get you through,
- comes from having a character that has been tried
- through persevering endurance
- in the sufferings you have experienced
- with an attitude ready to rejoice.
Therefore, dedication to your work starts with your attitude—how you think. The mindset you bring to your work significantly affects what you will get out of your work. You cannot expect to enjoy your work if you do not bring that expectation of rejoicing through your work to the workplace with you.
Our job may not feel like we are doing God‘s will, but how it feels to us and what it actually is may be two very different things. … Our work can well be our ministry [because ultimately we] all serve God full-time. … The term full-time ministry should be used to refer to one’s attitude toward service more than an arena of service. The term should describe an orientation toward serving God, rather than specific activities … that are deemed to be serving God.
Given the amount of time that you spend at work relative to the amount of time you spend doing any other activity, choosing to serve God only outside of your work is limiting God to the margins of your time. If you will not serve God at your work, then it is doubtful that you will serve God at all.
Your dedication to your work—or your dedication to serving God through your work—is a choice that you must make all the time. You can choose to be dedicated to your work every day.
Your dedication to your work has little to do with what kind of work you do, and much to do with the attitude you bring to it. Choose to be a light that burns brightly where you work, regardless of how dark you feel your workplace is. You could be the brightest light that any of your colleagues will ever see.
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